May 18, 2020

Communion with Jesus, at Home

This morning just after sunrise I watched and listened to a fellowship of cardinals gathered high in a maple tree. I could hear them chirping, “The Lord be with you.” “And also with you,” as they hopped among branches, munching on the tasseled buds. Sure, they get to come together for communion, I thought enviously.

Envy aside, I am grateful for opportunities – more than ever, actually – to participate in worship with hundreds of others, even with thousands on the National Cathedral’s Sunday morning live stream. There, after the bread and wine are blessed, we are led in the “spiritual communion” prayer by St. Alphonsus de Liguori (1696-1787):

My Jesus, I believe that you are truly present in the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar. I love you above all things, and long for you in my soul. Since I cannot now receive you sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. As though you have already come, I embrace you and unite myself entirely to you; never permit me to be separated from you. Amen. "

Beautiful and true, yes, but now I keep thinking about those happy cardinals. They encourage me to embrace communion at home, as described in an affirming post by author and licensed lay preacher in the Episcopal Church, Ken Woodley, on his blog on March 26.

All of us can—yes, we certainly can—celebrate “communion” with Jesus in our own homes. By ourselves, if we live alone, or as a family. With wine or grape juice (whatever feels right to you) and bread, along with simple prayers, we can do what Jesus asked us to do. And safely. Each of us with our own cup and our own piece of bread.

Some may have the Book of Common Prayer at home and the Bible, of course, is rich with words we can choose to celebrate this “communion.” Though never discount the power of the words you find in your own heart at that moment.

We, as lay people, won’t be making any claims about turning the wine into the blood of Christ or the bread into the body of Jesus. Instead, we will let the Holy Spirit translate this “communion” deep within our soul."

Read the full post here:

May God bless your communing with Jesus at home by yourself or with family, or even outside with the birds.